close ranks(redirected from close lines)
to move closer together in a military formation. The soldiers closed ranks and marched on the enemy in tight formation.
(behind someone or something) to support someone or something; to back someone or something. We will close ranks behind the party's nominee. Let's close ranks behind her and give her the support she needs.
close ranks (with someone)
to join with someone in a cause, or agreement. We can fight this menace only if we close ranks. Let's all close ranks with Ann and adopt her suggestions.
to show support for other members of your group Dale urged his former rivals to close ranks behind his candidacy.
Etymology: based on the military meaning of close ranks (to form a straight row with other soldiers)
if members of a group close ranks, they publicly show that they support each other, especially when people outside of the group are criticizing them
Usage notes: If soldiers close ranks, they move closer together so that it is more difficult to go past them.In the past, the party would have closed ranks around its leader and defended him loyally against his critics.
Unite, work together, as in The members decided to close ranks and confront the president. This expression, dating from the late 1700s, comes from the military, where it denotes bringing troops into close order so there are no gaps in the fighting line. (A slightly earlier form was close lines.) It has been used figuratively since the mid-1800s.